The difference between College and University: What’s right for you?

Group of students outside socializing

By Rowan Garrow, 2nd year Journalism student 

Moving on to post-secondary education is an exciting time full of opportunities. The future is your oyster, and you want to get as many pearls out of it as you can.  

Whether you’re interested in getting into the workforce as quickly as possible or taking your education as far as it can go, college may be the right choice for you. Here are a few reasons why you should consider enrolling in college: 

Two students in the robotics labSmaller classes sizes 

A key difference between college and university is that class sizes in college are typically smaller. A college program may have dozens of students, whereas a university program can potentially have hundreds.  There are many benefits that come with having smaller class sizes.   

 Not only can you ask more questions, but fewer students also mean you can get to know your professors better. Professors can give you personalized feedback on assignments, help with understanding certain material, and they can provide one-on-one coaching directly to students in class. Professors can even guide you toward certain scholarship and placement opportunities that they feel would be a good fit for you. 

More hands-on experience 

One of the biggest advantages of college, and one that it is most well-known for, is its focus on hands-on learning. Many people thrive with hands-on learning, gaining more than they would with the typical theoretical style of learning that is common in university.  

Mohawk College provides simulated labs, workshops, VR experiences and more to get students practicing their skills and engage with experiential learning, as well as field placement and co-op opportunities. Some programs offer capstone research projects for students to put their learning to the test, while others make use of spaces such as the Multi-Sensory Room to grow accustomed to their work environments, right here on campus. The shapes that experiential learning can take are nearly endless, and the engagement from hands-on learning allows students to practice what they’ve learned in the classroom before they use their new skills in the workforce. 

College gets you job ready 

What’s better than practicing entering the workforce? Actually entering the workforce! Field placements and co-op positions put students into real positions in their field where they can gain on-the-job experience as they learn. This allows students to already have a certain level of job experience before they even land their first job,  

These positions are designed to put students' skills to the test, allowing them to use the knowledge they’ve gained in the environment it was built for, setting them up to enter the workforce with little to no training needed when they graduate.

Aviation student working on an engineCost is a factor 

There are few better feelings than saving money, and attending college over university can be one of the best ways to do so. College programs can be an affordable alternative to university, possibly offering savings of several thousand dollars depending on the field of study.  

Be sure to compare tuition and fees when researching your options, and always seek out a college alternative when a university program is looking too expensive.

College can be a stepping-stone to university 

Some students may plan on attending both college and university at some point in their academic careers. Many new college programs are geared towards preparing students for universities, with some colleges and universities partnering to make programs which allow students to stream directly from one learning institution to the other.  

Attending college before university also allows students to gain practical skills and industry expertise before exploring theoretical knowledge. Though they are different in many ways, both college and university have a certain type of learning that is unique to them and is quite different from high school. 

College gets you career ready and ready to learn - and with Mohawk College, you can be Future Ready too.